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My 9 year old son who has Asperger's just asked me to buy him a dress.

**If you have nothing nice to say move on. Yes it is an open forum and you have the right to your opinion but please keep that opinion to yourself or start your own thread so that I may choose to ignore you. Thanks**

After prying his sisters 5T dress off of him because it was stuck he asked me to buy him his own pretty dress to play in. I told him we could go look at Goodwill this weekend if he really wanted to. I plan to talk to him about the social aspect of this. In that *most* boys play dress up with fancy ties and hats and that other boys may find it strange that he likes to play dress up with dresses but that if *he* wants a dress and that is what makes him happy then we will get one and he can ad if anyone says anything he can tell them that it makes him happy and that is all that matters. I have no problem with him exploring this but with his social delays I want to make sure he has all the information to make the best choice for him.

I guess my question is or questions are:

1)Am I right to explain the social aspect or should I just buy him the dress because he asked me to and let the rest work it's self out
2)This is not our first time getting his sisters dresses off of him-he is so socially delayed I am unsure if these times are him simply playing the games his sister plays and not really understanding the implications. Though he knows boys do not wear dresses and he has never tried to wear one out of the house. Or if this is him already showing signs that he may be homosexual- which is fine- but I need to understand how to help a child who has Autism understand relationships and this would make things more complicated on so many levels. In a few years if he is still doing things like this how do I help him?
3)I am not trying to offend anyone with these questions and I know he is only 9 but I worry about his future everyday and this is just one more thing for me to be thinking about and planning for when it comes to his future. I want him to be him but I also want to make sure I know how to help him through it. whatever it may be.

I am a regular and I don't know why I feel compelled to ask this question anon but I do. Please forgive me.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 5:02 PM on Aug. 8, 2013 in Special Needs

Answers (17)
  • Don't read too much into this. Get him a dress, let him play, don't make a big deal out of it. The fact that he wants to wear a dress doesn't speak at all to his sexual orientation so you need not concern yourself with that, in my opinion. LOTS of boys like to dress up, especially if they have sisters and the fact that your son is delayed may mean that he's just extending this to a little older age than other boys.

    Try not to make it something too significant.

    /I have no particular experience with this. I'm speaking as a mom and just from my gut.

    Answer by Mrs_Prissy at 5:05 PM on Aug. 8, 2013

  • I don't want to make a big deal out of it for sure. I just don't want him to have one more thing to be teased about but then if this is the path he chooses I don't want him to feel it is wrong either...

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 5:07 PM on Aug. 8, 2013

  • I get that, I really do. It's hard for a mom to see her kid teased; it's painful :(

    But it may not get to that point. And I'm not sure it wouldn't be okay to just tell him that dress up is for home (just like we do for our girls who are playing dress up) for now. You can deal with any other possible issues as they arise.

    Answer by Mrs_Prissy at 5:09 PM on Aug. 8, 2013

  • I don't really think that wanting to wear a dress means anything except that the costume choices for dress-up available to girls are a lot more exciting and fun than those that boys typically wear. Many younger boys play dress-up with their sisters and wear old high-heeled shoes and fancy hats. Your son is just playing a little longer after his peers have stopped, probably because he is delayed and not as susceptible to the same pressures they are to be "manly". Personally, I'd buyhim the dress and just tell him that it's for wearing at home. If you see other indications later that he may be interested in aspects of femininity besides dresses, deal with the social aspect at thattime. Don't borrow trouble!

    Answer by Ballad at 5:21 PM on Aug. 8, 2013

  • I have a son on the spectrum.

    I will tell you what I would do. I'd buy the dress.

    Children go through different developmental stages. Most go through it at regular pace and once they pass a stage, they move to the next one. Children on the spectrum jump around stages. They miss a stage, then they go back to it and then they go through it again. Maybe children go through a stage where they dress up--even if it is a boy dressing as a girl. Does it always mean they will always be interested in that? No. For many it's just a stage. (although I have no problem if they DO want to continue it, but that's not your question)

    Let you child go through whatever stages he needs to go through when he needs to go through them. It will help with his development. I do understand the urge to protect, but let him do this.

    Answer by ChasingBridges at 5:22 PM on Aug. 8, 2013

  • my grandbaby likes to dress up in Iron man, Spiderman etc.
    she likes the Ninja Turtles A LOT

    if somehow she ends up wanting to be a boy we will cross that bridge. For now, if he is playing with boy stuff and doing the dress up thing then let him do so. If it becomes more you can approach it then.

    Hugs, its always hard to parent when we want our kids to be safe and not picked on.

    Answer by luvmygrandgirl at 5:28 PM on Aug. 8, 2013

  • I can understand how you would want to be anon.
    I am wondering if he has little boys to play with or just his sisters?
    You can encourage him to play the male parts in the stories, such as the king or a knight, both are fancy dress and believe me that I know a lot of kids that love to play dress up and the oldest in my particular group is 70 years old this year My son was not into the girl dress dress up but he did like the different textures and feels of the fabrics.
    He can feel pretty, or you might tell him boys usually are called handsome in boys clothes as well as girl clothes.
    We have boy fairies (as in the forest kind well and the sexual orientation too)
    We have girls that play boy pirates and very masculine men who dress up as women.
    On the one hand I am all for encouraging his imagination.
    On the other hand it is your job to guide him to make his life the best it can be.

    Answer by Dardenella at 5:30 PM on Aug. 8, 2013

  • Let me close with this idea.
    Ihad and still do have a large box with hats and jackets and ties and vests and boas and dresses and shoes and handbags and animal pieces and jewelry, well you get the idea. They are not any particular size. There were larger pieces of fabric as well.
    Rather than getting him his own dress, maybe go to good will or garage sales and start making an imagination box for all of them. If he chooses a dress, so what.
    Oh do not forget fans and featherslol

    Answer by Dardenella at 5:35 PM on Aug. 8, 2013

  • I'm more conservative than most moms here. I would not buy my 9 yo a dress. If he were 4 or 5 it would be different. My oldest has autism and doesn't understand social conventions, it's up to me to make decisions for him and I wouldn't make a decision that would encourage other kids to pick on him.
    There are tons of cool "boy" costumes to choose from - my son has/had a pirate, a knight, Mario, superman, darth vader and batman

    Answer by missanc at 5:55 PM on Aug. 8, 2013

  • I just painted his sisters nails and offered to do his toes. He thought about it bur declined. I asked him if he still wanted a dress and he said he did. Dh wants to see if he can compromise with him and offer a kilt. Our family is very/Scottish/Irish and Dh desperately wants an excuse to get himself one I think. ;0)

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 5:55 PM on Aug. 8, 2013

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